Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Analyzing Zelda, Part One

This is a series I am starting on the philosophical viewpoints that the Legend of Zelda video game series can bring to the table. Whether you are a fan or not of the series, I will be going over the emotion, experience and thoughts of the series, as well as going over slave morality and ludus and paidia play of the games.

This is just an introductory video to the series and to get you familiar to the series and what it encompasses.

Transcribed from video:

This is a philosophical study of the theories presented in the Legend of Zelda series. This does not necessarily present my own beliefs, nor am I forcing these beliefs on anyone watching. Please do not start any religious arguments or cause a flame war. Comments will be deleted if that happens.

Discuss only that which is relevant to the video. Thank you.

This series is based on the excellent book the Legend of Zelda and Philosophy. This is a fan's attempt to take the somewhat confusing language of the book and make it understandable on a basic level.

One of the most popular franchises to date is the Legend of Zelda. Beginning with the original Legend of Zelda and continuing on to Spirit Tracks and beyond, the tale of Link is familiar to any gamer--a kid or adult named Link is on a quest to rescue Princess Zelda, and reunite the Triforce to save the land of Hyrule.

Of course, the fact that the storyline, enemies, characters, and music change slightly with each game is part of the fun. The Zelda franchise has become a cultural wellspring. Forget just video games, Zelda is huge. From cartoon shows in the 80's (which some would like to forget), to present-day comedic skits on YouTube, the franchise is prolific.

Calling yourself a gamer requires at least a passing knowledge of Zelda. There are entire websites devoted to Zelda and nothing but. Many of these have sections for dungeon guides, timeline theories, item listings, walk-throughs, forums, ringtones, game art, and much more. There are official comic books, fan comics, webcomics, and the Zelda music has been translated on just about every instrument.

But beyond all that, the original gold-plated Nintendo cartridge has sentimental value for all of us. It marks the beginning of a saga--or perhaps our childhood. While your love for Zelda might not have landed you a date (unless it was another gamer, like I found), it did give you a chance to take Link on an adventure through the fantastic world of Hyrule.

The exact reason that the gamer can guide Link is one of the reasons why Zelda is so ripe for philosophical speculation. A movie-goer cannot guide Luke Skywalker--he can only sit back and hope Luke doesn't give into Vader or the Dark Side. Despite having some fixed elements, a Zelda game is not entirely out of the gamer's control. The gamer plays the game as Link, and is not a passive observer.

Zelda does something for you that you may not even realize. Many of you, I'm sure, know that feeling of finally understanding something; of struggling and struggling to no avail, until, lo and behold, everything becomes clear.

It's like the puzzle has settled into your brain, and you can just sit back and admire the beauty of it, and you know the struggle was worth it. There's a difference between looking something up in a manual, and then finally getting it yourself. What is important here is that you go from knowing the answer, to figuring out the answer AND knowing it.

That point when you finally see something is the case, is called the "Aha" feeling.

In most of the games, the gamer has to struggle through dungeons, solve difficult puzzles, and defeat tough enemies. Towards the end, he often encounters a secret room with a special item like the raft, silver items, or hookshot, etc... When you get the item, and those four familiar notes ring out, it can be seen the gamer is being rewarded for his struggle. The gamer feels a sense of gratification, accomplishment, or the "aha!" feeling.

Join me in Part Two as I discuss "Why We Care About the Princess".


Robert Wilson said...

I unfortunately haven't gotten to play any modern ones. Just the ones for NES and SNES. Love Link To The Past though...

Wish I could watch videos on my computer cause I'd love to see this!

Brynna Giadrosich said...

ah, I was planning to put up the text of the video, I just need to transcribe it, sorry about that :/